[Never Say Diet] Permission to Eat, Granted

iVillage Never Say Diet permission to eat Virginia Sole-Smith

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how much easier it is to talk the talk on the positive body image front than walk the walk. When I’m tucked away in my office, downloading all these thoughts into blog posts and articles, it’s pretty easy to feel great about my body, because it’s like I barely even have a body. I’m more like a head and a set of hands attached to a keyboard. (That got weird. Stop picturing me as floating Futurama heads with hands!)

But when you go out into the world and start interacting with people, it gets a lot trickier. Some of my friends know I write about this stuff all the time, so they get very defensive, adopting a sort of “I want to rag on my body today, so shut up and let me!” crouch before I even say anything. This is fair. I am the sort of person who frequently says too many things far too emphatically (especially if wine is involved). My friends are probably right to try to stave off my soapbox moments before they start.

Other times, I find myself midway through one of those body snarking conversations (the perennial favorite “so and so needs to eat a sandwich,” or those “I hate my thighs”/”I’d kill for your thighs but I hate my stomach” sad sack competitions) without even being completely sure how we started down that path. Probably, I even started it.

And the conversations that make me the saddest are the ones that happen around food, where women feel the need to apologize, justify, and rationalize every bite they put in their mouths. Even when you’re eating a perfectly normal meal. Like lunch.

So I’m doing a lot of thinking right now about how to handle all of these conversations, but I’m starting with this apologizing-for-eating thing. Because my guess is, if you’re apologizing out loud to me, you’re telling yourself a whole bunch of worse stuff on the inside. And because the fabulous Michelle Allison (she of Fat Nutritionist fame) wrote this fabulous post, that made me realize there actually IS something helpful that we can say, when someone says “Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m eating this…”

Obviously, to find out what that helpful-thing-to-say is… you’re going to have to click over to Never Say Diet.

And please, do share because I’m curious about this:

What are the body-hating (or food-hating) conversations that bug you the most? And how do you respond when these subjects come up? (Or does everyone just curl up into the fetal position and wait for it to be over? Because I so get that.)


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2 Trackbacks

  1. By Concerns From a Fitness Professional on April 5, 2012 at 10:04 am

    [...] diet. I respect your right to feel guilty after you eat ice cream. Personally, I’m working on shedding my food guilt and listening to my body instead of following a bunch of external rules. That’s because [...]

  2. By Do We Have Secret Fat Envy? on September 19, 2012 at 8:15 am

    [...] I like about DiLiberto’s post is that we’re establishing the possibility that you could eat what you want, derive your sense of self-worth from something other than a clothing size and refuse to live by [...]

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    The Eating Insinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America by Virginia Sole Smith

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